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Room To Grow, Flourish At Senior Center
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The back patio behind the Gladys Lemmons Senior Community Center features plenty of room for three standing garden beds planned for construction, as well as plenty of sun during the day for maximum growth of a new flower and vegetable garden.

The Gladys Lemmons Senior Community Center will soon be home to a new garden for senior citizens to tend to. Whether it be flowers or vegetables, local seniors will be able to cultivate the new addition.

Jane Finkenbine, the city’s Recreation Services Coordinator, shared that after talking with a few of the seniors, particularly those who lived in the apartments adjacent to the senior center, she found that many don’t have space for a garden.

“And we have quite a few people who will bring in vegetables and leave them on the table, and they’re gone in ten minutes ... a lot of our seniors may not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables or certainly don’t have the space to grow their own,” said Finkenbine.

She added that the patio space “is not used and there’s so much room for a garden.”

The space Finkenbine referenced is the large patio out behind the Senior Center, adjacent to the apartments. Aside from an occasional cookout, the location is hardly ever utilized by the seniors, so it only seemed appropriate to change that.

“It came up during a Senior Commission meeting,” explained Ed Viohl, President of the Senior Foundation.

The idea was approved and members of the foundation are paying for three raised garden beds, with Viohl building them. The plan is for Viohl to have three raised beds, each measuring four feet by eight feet, finished by mid-September.

“I think the construction will start to raise interest,” Finkenbine explained. She hopes that it will quickly take off and that they will be able to add a few more beds once more seniors get involved.

Though originally the garden was supposed to be in the ground, the raised beds are more practical for seniors, because there is no need to bend over to reach the produce growing on the ground or to pull the weeds out of the garden. Viohl attested to the strength of the beds by assuring that those tending to the garden would even be able to sit on the sides to work on it.

Viohl noted that there was a lot of potential for both a winter and summer garden: “You get some great vegetables here in this valley. Celery, onions, spinach, lettuce – food just grows well.”

“I’m just really grateful for the (Senior) Foundation for building this,” Finkenbine expressed. “I just think it’s a great addition to what we do here.”

The Senior Foundation is made up of seniors who are an active part of the Senior Center, and the Recreation Coordinator noted that “the Senior Center would not run without the support of the Senior Commission.”